Saturday, March 5, 2011

Creative Journey Into the Light- excerpt from my book "Fear Doesn't Live Here Anymore"

       Since I was about 12 years old, I’ve been involved with and loved art.  I took classes, exhibited at school and competed in art contests.  As I grew older, I started pursuing other interests and my art became a hobby that I pursued only occasionally.  I always kept notebooks for sketching.  After having kids, I sketched even less, since I disliked having kids looking over my shoulder while I was trying to sketch.  Anyway, the Lord began speaking to my heart in 2006 about pursuing my art again as a part of the art ministry at my church.  I never even considered being a part of the team because I didn’t think I was good enough.  Many of the people on the team went to art school, and some are professional artists.  I thought, “I can’t do that!” In spite of my fears,  I made the decision to obey.  I began showing people my sketches.  That was scary!  Then I began working on a piece for the next exhibit.  When I attended the first meeting where we showed our ideas, I was terrified.  I haven’t been that terrified in quite a while.  I was so afraid that I could barely speak.  I showed my piece and got a good response!  Whew!
Since then, it’s been an uphill battle with my heart.  I’ve had to deal with pieces being rejected, or not liked.  There have even been pieces that I didn’t particularly like.  I’ve battled myself.  I would hold my breath every exhibit when I revealed my piece or pieces.  I guess I still do, to a lesser extent.  “Will anyone like it?”  “Does it meet the standard?”  Ultimately, I have found my peace in knowing that I sought the Lord as I've created each piece, and knowing that I’ve given my best.   I must trust that God will speak to whomever he has ordained each piece to speak to.  I must trust that He will redeem my “mess ups”.  My job is to seek his face, listen carefully and obey him fully.  It’s that simple and it’s freeing!
      This fear of not being good enough permeates so much of my life.  I’ve always been a perfectionist.  In school, if I made a 99, I was trying to figure out why I didn’t make the 100.  I didn’t then, and I still don’t like making mistakes.  When I was younger, I would be willing to take risks to do something I wanted to do, thinking that I would succeed and not make mistakes.  Over the course of time, because of many failures, I became afraid of failure.  I now understand that failure is a part of life.  I’ve learned more from my failures than I ever have from my victories.  I am able to empathize with others when they fail.  The Lord has also taught me that He is achieving something far greater than we can see when we step out in faith to obey him.  Even greater than that, God redeems our failures.  He turns our ashes into beauty.  Isn’t that what the cross is all about?  If I never fail, how will I know of his redemptive power in my life?
             The Lord is continuing to renew my mind daily with his truth.  I am learning to accept my inadequacies, and failures.  Actually, I'm learning to embrace my insufficiencies .  Though it is painful to have my weaknesses and failures exposed, I know that it is good for me to live in truth.  And truth sets us free.  I am freed to become all that my Creator designed me to be.  I am free to fulfill my purpose in life.  He made me with certain strengths and certain weaknesses.  They were put there on purpose.  Why?  So that I may completely rely on Him.  So that I might know, that I am truly weak.  That is reality.  That is truth.  I am insufficient, but He is ALL-sufficient.  Also, so that I may be united with others in His body.  He calls us to help each other in areas of weakness.   God wants no self-sufficient "lone rangers".  

I'm learning to  make myself available to be used by our great and glorious God.  He specializes in using the unqualified and weak to accomplish great things.  And His plans can't be stopped!

So I ponder the question: Why am I so afraid of others seeing my failures, my weaknesses, sins, mistakes, etc?  I care more about what people think about me, than I care about obeying God.  I want the approval of people rather than, God.  It all comes back to ME.  Let me tell you, the Father is exposing these things by His Spirit.  They aren't easy lessons to learn, but they are worth it.  And every time I think I'm over other people's opinions, the Spirit exposes another area!   I want a heart that is completely devoted to Him.  I no longer want to live my life as a prisoner of other people's opinions.  I no longer want to make decisions because I want the reward of the applause of people.  I want the greater reward.  

  1.  Are you resisting obeying God in some area of your life because you’re afraid you will fail?  Are you willing to take the risk?  Isn’t God BIG enough to accomplish GREAT things through you inspite of your weaknesses, sins, and other insufficiencies?
  2. Can you think of an area of your life where God revealed his glory through your failures?  What good came of this failure?
  3. Are there weaknesses or failures that you've refused to admit?  Perhaps you've made excuses.  Maybe you simply think you need to try harder, or at least try a different method.  Admit, accept and embrace your failures.  Cling to the sufficient grace of our Lord.
  4. Who are you trying to please?  A spouse?  Your parents?  Friends?  Colleagues?  Are you using their approval or disapproval to gauge whether or not you're ok?  Ponder this thought:  You are more than Ok, because of the righteousness of Jesus Christ.  Now go deeper:  God knows you completely, through and through and He loves and accepts you as you are.  Meditate and pray over these truths.
Meditate on the following scriptures:
2 Peter 1:3
Hebrews 10:11-14
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
John 15:5-8

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